For a lot of introverts, drinking alcohol and doing drugs helped them feel happy and act normal in stressful, social situations. Instead of dreading events and gatherings, introverts finally felt at ease in large groups of people with the help of one (or ten) drinks. Of course, things could easily escalate and before you know it, you’re drinking even when you don’t need to. For a lot of introverts who used to drink/do drugs in order to thrive in social situations, what are they supposed to do now that they’re on the road to sobriety?

What Exactly Is An Introvert?
A common misconception is that introverts are shy people. This isn’t always true (but yes, some shy people can be introverts as well). In fact, a lot of introverts can be very sociable and breathe life into any party. Simply put, an introvert is a person who’s happy enough to be in his own company and easily gets tired in social situations. Although they can be happy in groups of people, they often need to recharge more and be alone more often than extroverts.

The first step of course is to accept one’s personality and quirks. In our culture, extroverts are seen as healthy individuals while introverts aren’t usually viewed with positivity. But the thing is that in other cultures, introverted people are seen as completely normal, if not rewarded.

The Introvert Advantage
Introverts are actually at an advantage when it comes to treating alcoholism and drug addiction. The reason is that they’re naturally good at self-reflection and they tend to premeditate on the things they’re about to do. Because AA sessions, rehabilitation centers and sober living homes require a lot of introspection on the part of the attendees, this is good news for introverts since they don’t need to force themselves to mingle or to speak up if they don’t feel like it.

Focus On Yourself
Recovering introverts need to focus on themselves. Sometimes, introverts can be very introspective – too much, in fact. And this can turn into negative feelings of worry and guilt. So you have to be kind to yourself and most importantly, to be true to yourself. If you don’t feel like mingling or speaking up, it’s okay to be quiet. It’s okay to focus on yourself, especially during the recovery process.

Choose Your Battles Wisely
Once you’re back in the ‘real world’ once again, you don’t have to force yourself to go to every single gathering or event you’re invited to. Choose your battles wisely. Before you go out, watch a feel-good movie, play some upbeat songs, or meditate/allot time for yourself. Make sure that you do something fun or relaxing before a social gathering so you don’t feel stressed out and get the urge to drink. Wear comfortable clothes and inhale. If you feel like you need something else to loosen you up, reach for other drinks like a calming tea, coffee, or even just a smoothie. No need to reach out for the alcohol. And don’t forget, if you don’t want to be in any given place at any given moment, no one is forcing you to go. Always choose your battles wisely!